The Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has called on lawyers in the country to join hands with the commission in its bid to free Nigeria of corruption.
He made the call on Tuesday at the opening of a one-day workshop organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in collaboration with the Presidential Advisory Council against Corruption (PACC) at the Rockview Hotel, Abuja.
According to Mr. Magu, the EFCC cannot stamp out corruption in the country without the support of all stakeholders.
“We consider everybody a stakeholder, as the EFCC does not have monopoly of knowledge to defeat all shades of graft”, he said.
The anti-graft czar urged legal practitioners to always play by the rule and avoid being used by corrupt elements to pervert justice adding that, “what is important is the interest of the nation which should be placed above any other interest.”
Mr. Magu, who commended the bar for being good partners in the fight against graft, however, decried the attitudes of some lawyers who compromise on their jobs for criminals to escape justice. He added that lawyers had a greater stake in the war more than any other class of professional.
In reiterating his commitment towards fighting money laundering, the EFCC boss said his agency would not stop going after people involved in laundering money.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, the law is a respecter of nobody especially those who commit crime,” Mr. Magu said.
“Whether you are EFCC, SAN or whatever, sooner or later we will start going after people who buy properties with stolen funds as well as people who help others to escape justice.”
In his keynote address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, urged members of the bar to examine themselves with a view to developing workable ways to curb corruption.
Justice Mohammed, who spoke through Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, charged them to look inward as individuals in the system, and collectively as a body to improve the legal system.
“You have a role to play as an individual and it is when we all change our attitude that we can see it reflected in the society. No doubt, the legal profession is crucial in the maintenance of a high quality of justice delivery within the justice system and such success or failure of our fight against corruption will depend on our willingness to take the right ethical path”, the CJN said.
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